Category Archives: Trinitiy Congregational Church War Memorial

Stanley H Challen

 Stanley H Challen
Lance Sergeant – 18030
“A” Company 6th Royal Berkshire Regiment

 CWGC information lists Harold Stanley Challen. although the Initials on the Alfred Sutton Memorial show S.H. Challen. The 1911 census appears to have been completed by Stanley whose occupation was listed as Junior Clerk; he signs himself Stanley H Challen.  His father, Henry, was a Tailor’s Cutter and his sister a Drapers Assistant.   They were then living at 325, London Road. At the time of Stanley’s death his father was deceasedand by the time of the CWGC registration his mother, Annie, was living at 49,Bulmershe Road. Stanley died on  3rd May 1917 Aged 22.  He is buried in the Wancourt British Cemetery.  Grave location III. F. 12 

 The 6th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment had been part of the operations in the Ancre Valley during February 17/18 1917.  Official histories refer to the Actions of Miraumont, Battalion history to the Battle of Boom Ravine.  This action, whilst not achieving all its objectives,  was sufficiently hard on the Germans to precipitate their strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line.  Fox et al in “Arras to Cambrai”  tell us that three companies, “B”, “C”, and “D” were involved in this action.  “A” company that of  Stanley Challen was probably held in reserve and he may not have participated in the action.   Following the action at Boom Ravine the battalion had a spell at Arras.  During this time they were in reserve for the final major attack in the Battle of Arras, launched on the 3rd May, but were called upon to relieve other units in the front line at Ch¾risy.  The offensive failed to reach  all but one of its objectives.  The 6th Battalion suffered repeatedly from heavy enemy shell fire during the action.  Between 3-18 May casualties for all ranks was 36 killed and 59 wounded.  Stanley Challen (in  “Arras to Cambrai” spelt Challin) was among those who lost their lives on the first day.

Stanley was remembered by the congregation at Park Church which was attended by his sister and Stanley may have attended Park Institute. His name is recorded on the Trinity Congregational War Memorial – Park Church was a daughter church.

Charles Edwin Bostwick

Charles Edwin Bostwick
Lance Corporal 46143
2nd Battalion Essex Regiment.

 Bostwick CE name

Charles Edwin Bostwick was the eldest son of Mr. Charles Henry and Mrs. Lucy Bostwick of 64 Amity Rd. Reading.  The 1911 census has filled in the details of his life. Charles Bostwick’s occupation is given as a sewing machine canvasser, his two children were in school. Information relating to his death has come from the CWGC record. His name is to be found on Panel 7 of the Vis-en-Artois Memorial. 

 The Vis-en-Artois Memorial commemorates 9,832 names of those who fell in the 1918 advance in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos. In the cemetery lie over 1,700 British and 582 Canadians who died in the capture of the sector on August 27th 1918.  It was 3km along the road that the Canadian Corps broke and turned the German position on September 2nd 1918, the day Charles Bostwick lost his life. He was aged 19.

Charles Edwin Bostwick is also commemorated on the Trinity Congregational Church war memorial which is to be rededicated in the Reading Minster church of St. Mary the Virgin in time for the centenary of the Great War.